Social Media Gaming to foster understanding of Journalism and Civic Engagement (Play*Fun)

Submitted by mcwflint on Sat, 06/05/2010 – 3:54am

Session Convenor: Mary Ann Chick Whiteside

Session Reporter: Mary Ann Chick Whiteside

Discussion Participants:

Kaarili Tasso, Brian Connors, Alice Tait, Sally Duros, Harold Shinsato, Latoya Peterson, Cheryl Field, Melissa Cornick, John Kotarski, Christina Xu,

First pass at come ideas, thoughts from session that focused on how social games can increase undertanding of journalism – how it happens, what skills needed, creating watchdogs over government – and its role into civic enagement.

The session included disucssion on types of games, examples of games, racial and gender issue in games, the state of gaming journalism, and ..

It “ended” with the idea of creating a game built around the ideals of journalism, including valor, exposing information that is vital to the public but often supressed and letting people practice journalism skills in a non-classroom, non-lecture way.

What gaming does/must do:

  • Brain wipe – clients share common interest; break from conflict; provide energy breaks
  • Allow you to absorb information in fun way
  • Vehicle to learn
  • Fun
  • Venue of communication
  • Create safe places to discuss issues/ideas unexpectedly
  • Often, users can add on to the game, take it places that the developers did not originally plan

Games – types, advantages, why:

  • Consule vs Internet
  • FarmVille:
  • Mirror
  • Grand Auto Theft
  • Sim City
  • Crazy Deer
  • Diner Dash
  • Newseum – play reporter on computer; get rated for story

Gaming journalism:

  • Almost impossible to thrive as magazine, Internet site if you criticize games because you need developers to give you games so that you can have exclusives to draw audeiecne
  • Gaming industry in early stages; comapre to how art or music criticism began
  • Are all people refelected in games? Do I see people like me in positive roles?

Gaming bias/issues:

Example: Sim City won’t let you succeed if you allow only public transportation

Example: Blacks cast as athletes or villans; few Asians unless games from Asian countries

Why: Very few blacks, minorities become developers;

Atlanta afterschool program hires black students to test games; learn link between games and development

Suggestion: Move beyond violence to see story; interaction

Can we create a game to increase understanding about how journalism works?

  • Avoid recreating what we have now to increase opportunties of what we could have
  • Help foster citizen journalists
  • Make journalism in the field like a mystery game, picking up clues
  • Add different characters – what happens if SuperMan energizes self by becoming Clark Kent? (Would clark kent have his job today?) What happens if the game is through the eyes of an editor, a yellow journalist, a Citizen Kane, a citizen journalist, a videographer?

Can we create a game that creates journalism, reporting on a community, government, issue?

  • Participants collect information to do audit on community/governement resource; gain points and can level up with new, accurate information

Can we create a game showing link between journalism and civic engagement?


Look at creating a mystery that allows participant to pick up puzzle pieces or pieces of a story to end up with a result.


Keep it easy to start

Consider mentro that can pop in to help


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